The establishment of Akuakrom Sustainable Economic Development Project (ASEDP) to many was a far-fetched dream if not an impossibility. However, for many in the Diaspora, projects such as this are all we exist for. We in the Diaspora have carried this constant, unrelenting, unwavering and uncompromised message of recognising and assisting, Africa, the Motherland.
Marcus Garvey was imprisoned because he preached “Africa for the Africans those at home and those abroad”, Bob Marley Wailed for Africans to unite, in his own words, “how good and pleasant it would be before God and Man to see the unification of all Africans, as it’s been said already let it be done, we are the children of the Rastaman”. Peter Tosh sang about “Mama Africa” and told us in the Diaspora and beyond that “anywhere you come from, as long as you are a black man, you are an African”.
The embodiment of this unbreakable bond between Africa and her children of the Diaspora is symbolized by the Rastafarian Movement whose foundational ethos is”African Re-construction and Resettlement”.
We now seize the opportunity to introduce our long standing plans and strategies for the inevitable return home. Recognizing that skills, training and knowledge must accompany this trip, we have conceptualized
a model village, identified a physical location along with the key persons needed to implement the Akuakrom Sustainable Economic Development Project.
Back2Roots Association, a Non-Governmental, not for profit organization and Akuakrom Development Project Organisation are the chosen vehicles to implement the pilot project, located in the village of Akuakrom in Sekyere East District , Ashanti Region, Ghana. The project is divided into four (4), five (5) year phases and will require approximately US$250m to complete phase one of the project. It will
encompass the surrounding “satellite” villages and return Akuakrom to its former glory as an important market and trading centre in West Africa.
Releasing Akuakrom is a project to demonstrate that villages throughout the region can become economically viable through self-reliance by tapping into opportunities that exist in the global market place. The concept is for the establishment of a series of sub-projects with total linkages to all
sectors of the social and economic life of the village and its people. These projects are inextricably linked and require parallel implementation in some cases.
Food security relates to the insulation of the community from the vagaries of food supply and the attendant negative fallout resulting from adverse or surplus supplies. To ensure success in this endeavour, modern agricultural practices must be adopted to produce at least the food needed to feed the village in a sustainable manner with the ultimate goal of producing a surplus for exportation.
The village consists of approximately fifteen (15) square miles of which almost half is arable land that the Chief Nana has committed to the agricultural project. The agricultural initiative is for the intense
production of food crops for domestic and export purposes as well as crops for the production of bio fuels to service the energy needs of the village. When fully implemented it should achieve the following;
a) Production of the basic food requirements of the village through the efforts of local farmers.
b) Efficiently market any surplus agriculture and other food supplies to other communities in the region utilising adequate agro-processing methodologies.
c) Revolutionise agricultural and husbandry practices in the area to effect optimum yield
d) Accomplish the above goals through specified approaches, i.e. utilising modern agricultural practices (organic, Greenhouse farming), provide adequate water supplies, adhering to the principles of comparative advantage, coordination of regional and global marketing efforts and providing the required level of extension services.
Integral to the success of the development of Akuakrom is the establishment of energy oriented projects. Energy options focuses on the village’s capacity to produce and offer consistent sources of energy utilising a variety of approaches, i.e. traditional and renewable energy (bio fuels, solar, wind, hydro, etc.)
Biofuels will be used to run local power generating plants to supply a significant part of the domestic and commercial energy needs of the community. A complementary energy project is the utilization of solar
technology again for domestic and commercial needs. The emphasis of solar technology will be on the satisfaction of the domestic needs especially the housing sector.
a) To effect improvements to existing energy sources and the practice of energy saving solutions.
b) To establish small and medium scale operations focussing on the manufacture of renewable energy such as bio fuels, solar energy, hydroelectricity, etc.
c) To provide energy solutions to adjacent communities through the Akuakrom grid from surplus production.
Health applications will rely on a responsive and proactive cadre of health practitioners supported by reliable local and international institutions.
a) The construction of modern health facilities for the community of Akuakrom and surrounding region
b) Emphasis on the provision of secured water supplies to alleviate and enhance hygienic conditions.
c) To provide a dedicated cadre of health professional on a continuous basis in the care, training and enlightenment of proper health practices.
Education is universally accepted as the prerequisite for development. The intent is for the establishment of a comprehensive education system based upon the concept of “smart schools” to facilitate the development of a modern African village.
The thrust in Education is focused on the establishment of an internationally acceptable standard from basic to tertiary levels resulting in a multi-disciplined graduate prepared for the global challenges. To achieve this, modern educational facilities providing high quality training
from basic to tertiary levels must be established that will;
a) Provide an environment conducive to the assimilation of information technology knowledge training, thereby giving the village access to the global market.
b) Effect mutually agreed upon cultural changes geared to make the village competitive in the modern economic environment.
Telecommunication which serves as the hub and nerve centre of modern commercial activities will be accentuated through the provision of adequate infrastructural and training facilities and supporting methodologies. The concept of a smart home revolves around the telecommunication input, this input will enable the village of Akuakrom to enter the global village and participate in cyber activities. Such participation has the potential to generate social, domestic and commercial benefits to Akuakrom.
Because of the domestic, social and commercial impact on the success of the project telecommunication emerges as a primary hub for the sustainability of the project.
The provision of adequate housing solutions is critical to provide the right environment for the assimilation of ideas and is inextricable tied to the concept of ‘smart homes’ linked by the internet to the global economic highway. The housing stock of Akuakrom is typical of the rural African village, the traditional mud hut. The vision of the project is to provide “Smart Homes” housing solutions which require cutting edge telecommunication linkages. This will require the construction of modern housing solutions for the village to enhance living and hygienic conditions and provide the right environment for learning. These solutions will be constructed so as to;
a) Outfit each unit with the required technological capacity to enable linkages with the global commercial highway and provide earning opportunities directly to villagers.
b) Create the key infrastructural base for the engenderment of sustainable economic development and growth.
Water is critical to the economic and domestic quality of life for the village. This entails the development of a water system that can supply the equivalent needs of at least 100,000 people in the first instance with the capacity for expansion, as well as serving the total agricultural needs of the
community. Adequate raw water supply has been identified and tested with positive results that can be harnessed to achieve this.
Of utmost importance is the identified source ability to provide the village and immediate region with adequate water security through the utilisation of existing as well as new approaches to water sourcing and disposal. This will enable the project to;
(a) Provide the basic infrastructure to allow for the provision of adequate potable water supplies to ensure proper hygienic and agricultural usage.
(b) Ensure the proper disposal of liquid and solid waste through modern waste disposal mechanism.
(c) Provide surplus water solutions to adjacent communities from the Akuakrom grid.